Walter Villa was nicknamed the Reverend because, unlike other champions, he was a quiet and reserved man outside the racing circuit. Yet, inside this little, big man, roared an absolutely competitive champion capable of taking his two-wheelers 4 times to the top of the MotoGP championship. Born in the province of Modena in 1943, Walter Villa was a predestined for speed, the essence of the Motor Valley in him flowed fast and powerful. Born as the fourth of five brothers, Villa was used to having to take everything he wanted with his nails but also knowing how to mediate between everyone’s needs: and that is why outside the circuit he has always been able to settle every dispute born in the World Championship, a personality its capable of mediating between pilots and sports organization like few others. Passionate about motorcycles, he immediately began to gain experience in the Albinelli motorcycle workshop, then MV Augusta dealer for the province of Modena. He began to compete in the land of motors with the Morini motorcycle and in 1962, in his first race on the 175 Settebello, he obtained fifth place, the following year he moved to Ducati in the junior championship and in 1965 he began his relationship with the MV Augusta: his first year as a rider reaches 5th place in the championship, the following year he is MV Augusta test rider and then senior 125 national champion with the Mondial bike. 1973 is the year of the turning point: he is the Italian 250 champion riding with Yamaha but in the world championship he is involved in a terrible accident in Monza where two riders die and he ends up in a coma: since then he will never remember the events of that day. In 1974 the world championship in the 250 class arrives, reconfirmed in 1975. A multifaceted champion who became passionate about the world of engines to emulate his older brother, to whom he was very close, Francesco Villa (also a professional driver); However, the feeling with Walter Villa’s bikes was special and over the years he managed to be competitive by riding on many different bikes.
To date Walter Villa is still one of the most successful riders in the history of international motorcycling with 4 world titles and 9 Italian championships with an average of 36 podiums, and 24 races in first place out of 87 disputed. His motorcycle fortunes lasted almost until the end of the seventies and in 1985, in addition to participating in various competitive motorcycle activities, Villa participated in the Italian F1 championship, competed in the Endurance world championship and started a direct collaboration with Pirelli. Here his task is to test the first racing slick tires and the prototypes for official equipment. Walter also excels here and manages to give a strong approach to Pirelli’s test systems and methodologies which with him makes the experimentation department grow by tying the name of the driver in an indissoluble way to the commercial and public success of Pirelli, in this way the he company is able to change the way of conceiving high performance tires with the help of a trained and capable champion. Finally, in 1994 Villa, with Pirelli tires, won 5 world speed records in the 1000 class (out of 6) riding a Suzuki RF 900.